Changing lives one pair at a time

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Changing lives one pair at a time

‘I will give you my shoes’
by Tracy Mashinge-Jeche

'I will give you my shoes' recipients with club representatives from front left Ms Monica Lahle (Mdantsane Athletics Clubs), Mr Mbuyiselo Dabi (Real Gijimas) and Mr Templeton Yoba (Overtakers Sports Club)

The beauty of sports is that people connect regardless of where they come from or who they are. ‘Just before crossing the finishing line at the 2015 Buffs Half Marathon, the Overtakers Club Chairperson spotted a young man from France, Nicholas Becker conversing with a young runner, Masibulele Tshipo after both had finished the marathon’ - this was the genesis of a story that would see many underprivileged runners get the opportunity of owning a pair of running shoes.

Becker offered his high performance and long distance running shoes to Tshipo having been moved by empathy, seeing that the type of shoes used by Tshipo didn’t meet the standards for road running. This rare act of kindness gave birth to the ‘I will give you my shoes’ project, were Becker later brought more than 70 pairs of running shoes from Italy, France and Netherlands with help from the World Triathlon Championship Organiser, Pam Rossouw.

“Nicholas visited East London and wanted to take part in a sporting activity so, l suggested the Buffs Half Marathon. After discovering what Nicholas had done, he wanted to continue making a difference. So, because l had a lot of email addresses of runners from different parts of the continent, l decided to let them know about this project and the response was amazing”, smiled Rossouw.

This time around more than 100 pairs of running shoes were brought at the event. Two clubs, Mdantsane Athletics Club and Real Gijimas were present. There was huge excitement from the runners as they chose shoes.

“The challenge we have is that young athletes run without shoes, and having an initiative that gives back like this makes a huge difference”, said Secretary of Mdantsane Athletics Club, Monica Lahle.

The project started with the Overtakers Sports Club and has now spilled over to other clubs. Local sports club runners also donated their running shoes this year. The remainder of the shoes is always passed on to other areas in Port St Johns, Queenstown, to name a few.

With such hearts and minds working towards supporting young talent with running shoes, the sporting world will never be the same again.

For more info contact: Templeton Yoba 082 565 4035/

Pic Supplied

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